Well, here we are in that great normality rehab of the West — Los Angeles. It’s the Nissan Open at lovely Riviera Country Club, just off the Sunset Strip, between Beverly Hills and Malibu, teetering on the crusty spine of the San Andreas fault. This place always reminds me of an old Warren Zevon song:
- “And if California slides into the ocean,
as the mystics and statistics say it will,
I believe this motel will be standing,
until I’ve paid my bill.”
I love a mentally unbalanced pessimist. There are more raving nutcases per square mile in this state than in any other. I’m convinced of it, and what’s more, they’re all in contact with one another. They have little earpieces hanging down to their concealed cellphones, and they walk around talking, either to themselves or each other, I’m not sure which. Wearing anything but black appears to be totally illegal, and thin-soled shoes are way out. Our hotel is a perfect example. We’ve stayed here for years, and it used to be the Westwood Marquis, until last year when we checked in, and it had been transformed into “The W Los Angeles.”
The old Marquis was nasty, and had a bar like a funeral home, all purple velvet and chintz, with stuffed old people and waiters that hadn’t seen daylight in years. Now, the “W” is the exact opposite. It’s gone from a funeral home, to a cross between a haunted house, a mental hospital, and a scene from the “Matrix.” All the staff wear black, have black headsets, black tattoos, pierced whatsits, and robotic grins. Even the elevators have black and purple lights. They had a rolling blackout here last week, and no one in this hotel noticed.
To gain entrance to the hotel, you now have to navigate a set of glass steps, under which a waterfall cascades to the sidewalk. I think it must be a nightmare when the salmon are mating. The bar has been transformed into a techno-throbbing oystercluster, and is now filled with the most confusing array of furniture I have ever seen. It is completely impossible to tell whether you should be sitting on it, or eating off it, so everyone just stands around looking cool, wishing they could smoke, which is also illegal, unless you happen to be under a fire blanket in neighboring Nevada.
This is the end of the West Coast Swing for us at CBS, and the perfect hotel to cap it off. The whole crew is on the edge of madness anyway. Well, except for McCord, who fell over that one years ago. Strangely enough, he’s the only one who looks halfway comfortable in the bar. I think it’s the shoes.
It’s also Grammy week here in L.A., so the place is particularly full of people who spend far too much time in front of the mirror. I’m hiding in my room for the rest of the week. Everything I need is here: The History Channel, long neck Budweisers, a 425 thread count on the bed, and a sign that says “Leave me alone” hanging on the door knob. Bring on The Masters.